Fundamental Duties under Constitution of India

FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES UNDER CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

Introduction:-

“It is the duty of every person to contribute in the development and progress of India.”

-Swami Vivekananda.

In Rigveda’s Purusasuktam it is mentioned that each people comes to earth to perform some duties. India, the land of 1.33 billion people is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republic country.[1]Over 73 years, it protects all the rights of citizens mentioned in the Constitution. We, the citizens of India always criticize the law and systems of the country. But how many of us say that we sincerely perform the fundamental duties mentioned in our Constitution?

Amongst 1.33 billion inhabitants, only a few people perform their duties, the rest of them do not perform their duties because of situation, intention and lack of literacy. To be a responsible citizen does not mean a person has to perform a lot of things, he just has to execute some duties towards the country.

Background of Fundamental Duties:-

In 1976, the fundamental duties were added in the Constitution of India by the 42nd Constitution Amendment Act, 1976 inspired by erstwhile USSR Constitution. Before that, the framer of the Indian Constitution did not incorporate the fundamental duties in the Constitution of India.

In 1976, the Sardan Swaran Singh Committee was established by the Congress party to make recommendations about fundamental duties for the need and necessity felt during the 2 years operation of the internal emergency from 1975- 1977. The committee was appointed by the Congress president to look into the Constitution and suggest ways and means to amend it in such a way that it does not come in the way to so-called ‘progressive’ and ‘socialist’ policies of the government.[2]This committee recommended eight fundamental duties and a separate chapter on fundamental duties in the Constitution of India. After the enactment of the 42nd Constitution Amendment Act, 1976 the total number of fundamental duties are eleven. These duties are non-justiciable.

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In 1998, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government had elected Justice J.S. Verma Committee to operationalise the suggestions to teach fundamental duties to the citizens if the country.[3]

List of Fundamental Duties:-

Article 51A in part IVA of the Constitution of India deals with fundamental duties. The fundamental duties of the Indian Constitution are as follows:

  • a) A citizen will abide by the Constitution and respect the ideals and institutions of the Constitution, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
  • b) A citizen will respect and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
  • c) A citizen will ratify and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
  • d) A citizen will protect the country and provide national service when called upon to do so;
  • e) A citizen will enable unity and the essence of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities;
  • f) A citizen will repudiate practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
  • g) A citizen will value and protect the rich heritage of our amalgamated culture;
  • h) A citizen will protect and enhance the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and have sympathy for living creatures;
  • i) A citizen will develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of analysis and reform;
  • j) A citizen will secure public property and abandon violence;
  • k) A citizen will strive towards excellence in all realms of individual and collective activity so that the nation always rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement;
  • l) A citizen will furnish opportunities for education between 6-14years old child.

These duties refer to such values which have been a part of the Indian tradition, mythology, religions and practice. These fundamental duties are a mixer of civic duties as well as moral duties. These duties refer to such values which have been a part of the Indian tradition, mythology, religions and practice.

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Significance of Fundamental Duties:-

It is the social responsibility of every citizen of India to perform some duties towards their country. The significance of fundamental duties is unique. The significance of fundamental duties is as follows:

  • These fundamental duties create unity between citizens without any discrimination based on race, caste, sex and religions.
  • These duties help to increase the literate rate of the country.
  • These duties serve a reminder to obey the objectives of the Constitution and the motherland.
  • These duties build a strong national personality with the touch of human dignity and brotherhood.
  • Fundamental duties advise the citizens to maintain peace and harmony in the country.
  • These duties remind us that we must protect the natural resources and ancestry for the coming generation.
  • Fundamental duties are not enforceable by the constitution. The parliament can deliver reasonable restrictions in case of violation of fundamental duties.

The fundamental duties are not just a chapter in the Constitution of India. It is comprised of civic and moral values which make a person from citizen to Indian.

Case Laws:-

The Indian judiciary department has vouched for many fundamental duties cases over the years, some of them are –

  1. In the case of Dr Dasarathi V. State of Andhra Pradesh( AIR 1985 AP 136), the Supreme Court observed that it is the responsibility of every citizen to strive towards excellence in all realms of an individual and collective activity so that the country always rises to a higher level of endeavour and accomplishment as per the Article 51(A)(j). It is the state duty to give ways to achieve excellence as per the procedures illustrated in the Constitution.
  2. In Mohan Kumar Singhania & Ors. V. Union of India & Ors. ( AIR 1992 SC 1), the Supreme Court stated that the provisions mentioned in Article 51(A) part IV of the Constitution of India is legitimate. The fundamental rights and duties are inseparable. One has to follow fundamental duties to understand fundamental rights.
  3. In the case of M.C.Mehta (2) V. Union of India(1987 SCR (1) 819 AIR 1987 965), the Supreme Court held that all the educational institutions compulsorily organize one-hour teaching lesson in a week on the protection and development of nature. Under Article(A)(g) it is the responsibility of the government to distribute the books free of charge in the educational institutions and promote the importance of nature among the citizens, the government should organize ‘keep the city clean week once in a year.
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Conclusion:-

In a democratic country, it is easy to make the public authorities accountable, where many citizens do not obey their duties. That’s why our former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi once said that ‘People tend to forget their duties but remember their rights.’

Many citizens do not aware of their duties. To spread the knowledge on fundamental duties, it is important to teach the Constitution in all educational institutions of India. For the development of the country, the citizens should perform the fundamental duties towards the country.

References – 

[1] THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA, PREAMBLE.

[2] Dr. Makkhan Lal, Swaran Singh Committee and 39th- 42nd Amendment, Vivekananda International Foundation (July 13,2018) https://www.vifindia.org/article/2018/july/31/swaran-singh-committee-and-39-42-amendments.

[3]  Ravi Shankar Prasad, Need to remember our fundamental duties as we remember our fundamental rights, The IndianEXPRESS(Nov.26, 2019, 10:47:06am) http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/fundamenttal-duties-rights-indian-constituton-6136622/.

Author: Shreeparna Goswami,
2nd year B.A.LL.B of Shyambazar Law College

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